Day6’s ‘I’m Serious’ song & music video review

day6 i'm serious mv music video song review

Since debuting in 2015, Day6 has flown under the radar as JYP Entertainment’s underrated rock band. But with their newest project, Every Day6, they’re sure to gain success and recognition. Through this project, they’ll be debuting two new singles on the 6th of every month this year. So far, the releases for the last three months have been fairly typical for what listeners have come to expect from the band since they debuted with “Congratulations.” All of them are angsty and filmed in shadowy locations and while well-made, they’re all very much the same. Steering away from this trend their newest release “I’m Serious” is a sunny, summer-ready pop rock song perfect for a day at the beach.

Song

“I’m Serious” is a simple, sweet, feel-good song, which is a nice change for Day6. While their songs are often upbeat, their lyrics are filled with heartbreak. Finally, Young K (the band’s bassist and primary lyricist) is showing us a side of his lyrics that involve falling in love, albeit unrequited. They’re quite playful lyrics that describe the frustrations of flirting with a seemingly oblivious crush. and vocalist Wonpil, in particular, sings them with just the right amount of lilting charisma. Along with being an overall happier song, “I’m Serious” is also a lot catchier than their previous releases. With some of their earlier songs, it takes a couple of listens before you want to start singing along, but this one gets stuck in your head right away.

day6 i'm serious mv music video gif song

via akarli @ Tumblr


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Both K-pop and otherwise, it’s rare for a to have all of the vocalists so evenly matched in their abilities. And while all of their voices sounded as amazing as they usually do, lead singer Jae’s in particular seemed to fit this song’s style really well. All of the members also got equal line distribution, though hopefully through Every Day6, we’ll get to hear the band’s drummer Dowoon get a chance to sing. No member shines more than the others,, though, and their voices all have their own unique colors to them. Leader Sungjin’s voice is husky and deep, which balances out Wonpil’s falsetto., Mmeanwhile, Jae’s smooth sound and Young K’s powerful range ties all of them together. This was showcased nicely in the short acapella portion of the bridge. It showed that Day6 is not a band that uses their instruments as a crutch, but rather sound great with and without them.

Music Video

The music video for “I’m Serious” is quite different from what we normally see from Day6. Their previous videos were filmed in dark locations filled with shadows and artificial light. The members were broody, and even the clothes they wore were dark and heavy. This was fitting, of course, because the songs were about heartbreak. Now, it is nice to see the boys running around on the beach, smiling, and having fun with each other for a change. They genuinely seem like friends instead of a group of strangers who formed a band together.

day6 i'm serious mv music video gif song

via wonplis @ Tumblr

Similar to the line distribution, all of the members got fair amounts of screentime. It was especially nice to see Dowoon step out from behind his drumset and into the limelight. Because the group’s music videos always go the typical band format rather than a more active one, Dowoon is too often stuck in the background. The only complaint might be that the concept for this video is a lot less unique than some of their others. It certainly isn’t the first time the “day at the beach” concept has been done, but it’s unique for Day6 because this is not typical the side of them we get to see.


Also on KultScene: EXID’s ‘Eclipse’ album review

Overview

With Every Day6, the band is making huge strides towards achieving the fame they deserve and seem to only get better with each new release. The band is vocally very strong, but they also have great command over their instruments. This combination makes a song heavy in acoustic instruments just as lively and audibly interesting as any other song with computerized beats and electric guitars. Hopefully as 2017 continues, we get to see the many sides of Day6 in more depth. What this band can do with their talent has no boundaries and their future releases surely won’t disappoint.

What do you think of Day6’s “I’m Serious?” Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

EXID’s ‘Eclipse’ album review


Under the tutelage of Shinsadong Tiger, EXID have been consistently good with their albums. Each one is littered with gems that equal or better the title track. This time, however, they are without lead vocalist Solji, one of the great powerhouse vocals of K-pop. It’s normal for a member to take a short hiatus due to illness, but it’s pretty rare for a group to begin another round of promotions without them. Solji’s absence poses a unique challenge for EXID and Shinsadong Tiger. Do they produce tracks with her voice in mind so that when she’s back she can fill in easily or do they forget about her?

The short answer is a bit of both. On stark opener “Boy,” they certainly do not need her. “Boy” does a great job of lining out each of the members; they are given time and space to themselves. Not that we need an introduction to them at this stage, but in contrast with lead single “Night Rather than Day,” it works exceptionally. Hani, Junghwa, and Hyerin are appropriately breathy. They struggle to get the words out, not wanting to admit how they are really feeling. It’s a perfect track for Hani and Junghwa in particular, but Hyerin works well too. Her shrill voice combines that of a lead and sub vocalist so she can sound frail, even when belting. It’s something that Solji would have sounded less natural doing.

“Boy” is a stripped back track, synths stab along with percussion as different sounds weave in and out. Best of these is the flute sounding synth that scales up and down. It gives the complex emotions in the lyrics life. The girls are lonely and pining for a boy but they’ve become so despondent they even miss the most cringeworthy attitudes. The chorus with no vocals offers them something to hide behind, a strange modulation of the word boy. They say they desire this boy but can barely even say the word.


Also on KultScene: WINNER’s ‘Really Really’ song & music video review

The song ends on an interesting bit of soundscape to make it sound as if they performing live at some futuristic lounge. It tees up “Night Rather than Day” perfectly. As part of Eclipse, it fits right into this feeling, and as a single, it is the most refreshing one from an idol group in a long time. EXID have moved on from being ashamed of how they feel and are now more than happy to be suggestive. Together, “Boy” and this track make an interesting pair. In “Boy,” their shame comes from the fact that they need the comfort of a guy not being able to live alone hurts them. On “Night Rather than Day,” they are not one bit ashamed of being sexually forward. They represent an image of women rarely seen in K-pop.

The song itself is gorgeous loungey R&B with sprinkles of a multitude of styles. It has jazz elements, a disco beat, and the grooviest bass electronics. They also start to blend their vocals a bit more. LE especially adds her crisp raps to accompany Hani in the chorus, adding a decisive punch to the sentiments being expressed. Hyerin’s job is a lot more clearly to replace Solji here and she does a good job. To really take the song to another level though, it needed someone with Solji’s strength to take control.

Third track “How Why” acts as a sort of bridge between the duo of “Boy” and “Night Rather than Day” and the solos, Hani’s “Milk” and LE’s “Velvet.” It is also the type of track I expected (and dreaded) to be their single. Luckily as a b-side, it can afford to be slightly different. The soundscape motif continues but this time moves us outside to the sound of wind blowing through trees. I immediately thought of Taeyeon’s “Why;” it’s summery and teases that popular dembow riddim sound. It builds to a chorus that ultimately relies more heavily on standard synths which I think helps it from being too tired. It is the weakest part of the album by far, though. It’s that sort of inspirational summer track that I could imagine any western artist releasing, and EXID are better than that. I’m glad they had the courage to go with “Night Rather than Day” as the single.


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However, the solos bring us right back up to speed. The girls turn back to their desire, with Hani displacing her thoughts and LE being as blatant as she can be. Hani tells a story of a heartbroken day. To forget about someone she fills herself with chocolate, bread, and, most of all, milk. Not exactly an original metaphor, but there are some great lines in there. “I look in the mirror and my makeup’s smudged, why doesn’t my desire for you smudge?” Hani coos sadly over sensual acoustic guitars. The use of the Korean word for milk “uyu” and the English words “only you’ to rhyme are wonderful. It’s also a great reminder of Hani the vocalist, something that gets buried among her many other talents.

LE’ is also missing someone, but only their body. “Velvet” is beyond sexy. She raps about her lover, the heat and touch of their body. The mid-tempo hip-hop beats let it sway as LE adds some nice touches to her vocals. Here and elsewhere in the album she starts rapping but ends her bar with a higher pitched inflection. It’s a great detail that adds a raunchier aspect to “Velvet” in particular.

As a duo of solos Hani and LE encapsulate the intense emotions EXID like to get across in their music. EXID portray a spectrum of characters that tell stories of all kinds of women. Not only that, but they do it with a unique musical edge, incorporating a litany of genres without stepping outside their range. Eclipse is that rare mini that can stick with a theme throughout the runtime while continually teeing up new things to discover. All this without their star lead singer.

What do you think of EXID’s “Eclipse”? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

WINNER’s ‘Really Really’ song & music video review

winner really really song review music video meaning

Having only debuted four years ago, WINNER has still faced quite a bit of adversity throughout their careers, and their Inner Circle (their fanbase) has been with them through it all. From battling out on the competition show WIN: Who Is Next to their multiple prolonged hiatuses, to vocalist Taehyun leaving the group, the road to achieving their dreams has been a bumpy one. Finally, they are back with two music videos for their new releases “Really Really” and “Fool.” While “Fool” is closer to what fans are used to seeing from WINNER, “Really Really” diverges greatly from their usual style, making it the perfect song to dive into.

Song

“Really Really” is perhaps one of WINNER’s most upbeat and lighthearted songs they’ve released and it shows the audience a side to them that we haven’t gotten to see before. Compared to prior releases such as “Empty” and “Color Ring,” this song is a lot more carefree, and it’s nice to see the band take a step away from the ballads for a little bit. The party vibe of the pulsing electronic beats makes this the perfect song to listen to as summer becomes visible in the distance. This is the type of music that could be heard on radio stations here in the United States, something that YG Entertainment has always strived for but haven’t been able to reach thus far. It’s a fresh and modern pop song that instantly shows listeners the new leaf the group has turned over.

winner really really mv music video gif

Via Tumblr

However, we must address the elephant in the room: Nam Taehyun’s departure from the group is bittersweet. His absence is definitely noticeable, as if there’s something off about the song because it’s missing his amazing vocals. This, however, has given vocalist Jinwoo an opportunity to show off how truly talented he is, receiving more lines than ever before. Leader Seungyoon’s strong, unique tone shined as brightly as usual, and it was nice to hear it in such an upbeat and modern song. Rappers Mino and Seunghoon’s verses fit the song very well. I particularly liked Seunghoon’s verses, which were both charismatic and sweet. Combined, they created a cohesive blend of their abilities and talents. Taehyun’s departure, if anything, allowed the other members to grow as vocalists in order to make the missing vocals less evident.


Also on KultScene: Moon Hyuna’s ‘Cricket Song’ song & music video review

Music Video

The first thing that stands out about this video is that it’s shot all in black and white. This isn’t very often done in Kpop, which is known for its explosion of color and over the top nature on all fronts.But this is WINNER we’re talking about and “Really Really” has the artsy feeling their singles normally have. Due to the song’s Caribbean sound it could’ve just been the average run-of-the-mill choreography-based music video, so it’s quite different they went a different route with it.. In fact, the choreography is also what sets it apart from WINNER’s previous releases. We haven’t really gotten a chance before now to see the group in a way that shows that not only are they talented singers and rappers, but dancers as well.

winner really really music video mv gif

via cheonjaes @ Tumblr

winner really really mv music video song gif

via cheonjaes @ Tumblr

Seungyoon and Seunghoon were particularly charming in their dance moves, and it was clear that all of them were having a lot of fun. The choreography focus of this video gives it an energetic, flash mob vibe, and each member was able to hold his own with the professional dancers. It’s worth noting, that Dave Meyers, director of Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” and CL’s “Lifted,” was also the creative mind behind this video. WINNER’s growth as a group is the most clear with this video and allows them to show a fresh, new side of themselves.


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Overview

It’s so refreshing to see WINNER in this new light. “Really Really” gives life to the group, which is definitely what needed to be accomplished with this comeback. After everything WINNER has been through, they deserve the success that they are sure to get with this release. It’ll be interesting to see what else they have in store for us, hopefully more fun, summer-ready tracks like this. And also, hopefully we won’t have to wait another year, in true WINNER fashion, for more amazing music.

What do you think of WINNER’s new song? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Moon Hyuna’s ‘Cricket Song’ song & music video review

moon hyuna cricket song review meaning

Fans of the girl group 9Muses will be pleased to see that the beloved former leader has finally made her solo debut. “Cricket Song”, released on Mar. 21, shows a softer side of the ex-member of the “Model Idol Group.” Listeners of all kinds, even those who don’t care for 9Muses, will be drawn in by this enchanting release by Moon Hyuna.

Song

With “Cricket Song” as her solo debut, Hyuna is really setting herself apart not only from other solo artists, but from her former girl group as well. This song is vastly different from the pure pop music released by 9Muses and prepares listeners for what they can expect from her as a solo artist.The music leans heavily into the electronica genre, the synthetic melodies imitating those of a music box or a baby’s mobile. The dreamy sound of it goes well with Hyuna’s chiming vocals and the insomnia influenced lyrics. The chorus of “Cri cri-ket” is wonderfully addictive and whimsical. All of this together creates a unique indie pop blend that is most likely to be the sound of Hyuna’s future music.

moon hyuna cricket song gif

via ailees-muses @ Tumblr


Also on KultScene: CNBLUE’s ‘Between Us’ music video & song review

Music Video

This music video has no plot and isn’t exactly groundbreaking in any way, but it’s paired with the song perfectly. The ethereal visuals, made even more dreamy by the long exposure camerawork, portray the half-asleep wistfulness of the lyrics. Taking a more visual approach to the video rather than a plot-heavy one was absolutely the right choice for a debut song like this. There was nothing intricate or overly-complicated about the video, but it was beautiful in its simplicity. Going a more adventurous route with it may have been disastrous as it could have been too much to take in, especially with a song that is so different than any other release at the moment.

moon hyuna cricket song gif

via benihime99 @ Tumblr

moon hyuna cricket song gif

via str-wberrymilk @ Tumblr


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Overview:

Fans of Moon Hyuna will be incredibly proud of her newfound identity as a solo artist and this release will, hopefully, only cause her fanbase to grow. The music video is beautiful in its aesthetic simplicity but the song, in no way, pales in comparison. Both are equally unique and takes listeners into a hazy dream world. Hyuna’s talent truly shines in her solo release as we get a chance to really listen to her vocal abilities on their own rather than as part of a group of voices. She has a clear idea as to what her solo identity is going to be and I can’t wait to see what else she has to offer.

What do you think of Hyuna’s new song? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

CNBLUE’s ‘Between Us’ music video & song review

CNBLUE’s music has changed greatly over the years and their newest song “Between Us”, released on Mar. 20, adds even more layers to their unique sound. With this new track, they continue to evolve as musicians while still portraying the talented band we all love. Having had their last comeback in April 2016 with “You’re So Fine,” “Between Us” has been highly anticipated by fans the world over. At long last, the wait is over.

Song

Musically speaking, CNBLUE has changed drastically since they first debuted back in 2009. Listening to one of their earlier songs, such as “Love Girl,” and then listening to “Between Us,” the fact that they’re sung by the same band is almost unrecognizable. Over the past couple years, CNBLUE has definitely leaned more towards the pop and electronic side of music, which they’ve added to their rock band roots.


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That’s not to say, however, that they’ve lost sight of who they are. “Between Us” has a funky, synthetic sound, but it’s clear that instruments are still an integral aspect of their music, performances, and music videos. Some fans might love their new style, and others may prefer their earlier songs, but by delving more into pop music, their fan base will only continue to grow.

While the song is heavily influenced by electronic beats, some of the strongest aspects of the music are actually the instruments that CNBLUE have made a name for themselves with. Yonghwa’s piano playing and Minhyuk’s drumming in particular stand out and are even highlighted through their contrast to the rapid and sporadic EDM. The lyrics of the song themselves focus on the confusing relationship of two people who are in between being friends and being something more. This concept makes it easy for listeners to relate to the song and the artists themselves, with it being such a universal situation that many people find themselves in.

Music Video

The music video for “Between Us” is pretty typical for CNBLUE. The members played their instruments with vigor in between scenes of them speaking on the telephone with a confusing lover. It was very interesting, however, to see Yonghwa without an instrument. Unfortunately, it came off as a little awkward, as if he wasn’t quite sure what to do with himself, but it was nice to see a different side of him through this video.

Overall, I wasn’t that impressed with the video because while the song is upbeat and exciting, the video felt a bit flat. There was very little interaction between the members, aside from them walking around each other, and there really wasn’t a storyline at all. With the lyrics of the song, the video could’ve been so much more interesting than it was. It wasn’t a bad video per se, but it’s certainly nothing we haven’t seen already from CNBLUE. Videos such as “Love,” “Hey You,” and even more recent releases like “Supernova” have shown much of the same music video formatting as this one. It’s time for them to release a music video in which the members interact with each other a little more.


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Overview

“Between Us” is upbeat and both musically and lyrically well-made. It adds yet another dimension to this band’s sound and portrays their growth as artists. And while I love the song, I can see why some fans may be put off by it. There will always be fans who prefer the more pop-punk vibe that the group started off with, and that’s valid. However, I think if listeners give it a chance, they’ll grow to embrace this new side of CNBLUE. Unfortunately, the music video did leave a little bit to be desired, but that’s the only complaint. I think no matter what they do, CNBLUE will always be incredibly talented and devoted to their music and, as fans, that’s all we can really ask for.


What do you think of “Between Us”? Tell us what you think in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

LOONA 1/3’s “Love & Live” Music Video & Song Review

Blockberry Creative’s up & coming girl group LOONA, who have garnered a lot of attention for their “Girl of the Month” concept, released another music video on March 13. This music video gives fans their first look at the newest girl of the month Vivi, completing their first sub-group LOONA ⅓. Everything about this group thus far has been unique and their newest release has been no different.

Song

While “Love & Live” definitely has that bubblegum pop feel that you see in many young and freshly debuted girl groups, it’s not as catchy as it could’ve been. This is a song that will take a couple of listens before anyone is really able to sing along to it, as opposed to some of their previous releases, like Yeojin’s “Kiss Later” and Heejin’s “Vivid.” The vocals were also not quite as strong in this single, but the girls still showed off their vocal chops. As usual, Heejin shined in this song and, unfortunately, it felt like some of the other girls were pushed to the background vocally because of it.


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Music Video

As has become expected from LOONA, the music video for “Love & Live” was wonderfully unique and interesting. It tells a story of isolated robot girl Vivi who longs to be like her human friends, emulating them in every way, from the sports they play to the juice they drink. Most of the group’s pre-debut music videos tell a story focusing on each member that is open to the interpretation of the viewers. It’s interesting that they chose the newest member Vivi, to play the robot girl stuck on the outside of the human world, as it reflects the newest member’s need to try and find a place in an already solidified – but still growing – group of girls. What I appreciate most about LOONA’s music videos is that they tackled concepts that most newly debuted groups would shy away from. The only criticism there is about the video is that it seemed less vibrant than their previous videos, and the coloring felt dull compared to the perkiness of the song.

Overview

Unfortunately, I don’t think this was one of LOONA’s strongest releases but their talent and individuality is still very clear. LOONA represent young girl groups well, managing to not be overly cutesy while still acting their age. I’ve loved their concept of unveiling a new member every month since they’ve debuted (or pre-debuted!) and I can’t wait to see what else will come from them in the future!

Do you like LOONA so far? What do you think of “Love & Live”? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Red Velvet’s “Rookie” Music Video & Song Review


Who better to kickstart a relatively slow year opening than SM Entertainment’s’s resident pocket rockets Red Velvet? Most expected that they’d come back with one of their velvet concept tracks but new single “Rookie” is red through and through. A velvet track would have been comforting and suited the cold months but “Rookie” goes past that to be an infectious energy boost to anyway who come in its way. Red Velvet are well past rookies now, and their edge is proving to be the most distinctive of all the newer girl groups.

Song

That being said though “Rookie” is not an easy song to get into. Looking at the laundry list of producer’s names we can see a probable reason for this. The song introduces itself as being by The Colleagues, who are an American production team more used to hip hop and R&B than bubblegum pop. They’ve worked with artists like Lil’ Wayne and Gucci Mane, people who don’t shout Red Velvet. SM regulars Tay Jasper, Sara Forsberg, and more were on head to presumable help the transition though. So many different hands were on this song and I think it is thanks to this not despite it that “Rookie” could come through as a quality track.

The Colleagues’ hip hop has been filtered out in favour of funk to counter the chaos of a Red Velvet song. The drum beat is introduced as the driving force. It perfectly combines both worlds into something clear but potentially erratic. A rolling bassline comes in behind along with horns and guitars eventually which add the more grounding elements. We’re used to synth heavy tracks from Red Velvet so it’s great to hear something with the same energy but not synthetic. The horns especially create this unique vibe thanks to being so fun and spontaneous.


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The large number of producers may help cultivate the turbulent sound of Red Velvet, it would be nothing without their delivery. “Rookie” is their clear vocal highlight. It challenges the girls to swing wildly between their patented talk-singing and regular singing. The song’s structure is built around it. The verses are split into two distinct parts: Irene and Joy open up with cheeky introductions, getting us ready for the onslaught of ‘lookie lookies.’ Irene, Joy, and Yeri were made for this type of vocal play and “Rookie” really lets them shine. In the second part, Seulgi and Wendy start the actual singing and bring the details. They describe the rookie boy they are after and the effect he has on them. In a sense the almost nonsensical chorus is that effect in action. The childish repetition illustrates as Wendy sings “…Even the way I talk turns into ice when I’m front of you.”

The rapid transitions between vocals take less of a potential toll thanks to the song itself taking its time. It takes about a minute to reach the chorus from the beginning of the song. Usually this would be quite long but here it feels organic. Each new part is so filled with imaginative sounds so it never feels like you’re waiting for the chorus.

Music Video

As we’ve come to be accustomed to, with each new Red Velvet release the music video is decidedly psychedelic. “Rookie” expels the tighter, plot-like focus of “Russian Roulette” for something a bit more messy but just as weird. It takes aesthetic cues from Alice in Wonderland uses wardrobes and doors from The Lion, The Witch, The Wardrobe to transition between different sets. Like the song the girls can go through any door at any time, into a new exciting world. There’s a strange man made of flowers, Joy as a drug dealer, and a pull back to reveal the meta ending. Best of all is the long shot of Seulgi coming through the first door with a confused look, only to immediately find herself back in formation dancing to the chorus.


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Overall Thoughts

The best thing about Red Velvet is the commitment to their concepts since debut without becoming stale. They have continually produced magnificent tracks with youthful vigour. “Rookie” especially, finds something exciting. It’s many parts are equally diverse and wonderful. To the fans who think it’s too childish, do you even know Red Velvet? This is Red Velvet at their most fervent red. It’s supposed to be wacky and hard to grasp. That’s why we love them.

What do you think of “Rookie”? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

A Teenage Fangirl’s Farewell to 2NE1

On the 21st of January, iconic girl group 2NE1 released their final song, “Goodbye”, as a farewell to their fans. This release was comforting yet extremely heartbreaking for Blackjacks (2NE1 fans) in that it provided a closure to an otherwise abrupt disbandment of the group and allowed fans to listen to them sing together (well, ¾ of them) for the last time. Except, why did it have to be the last time? For a group that has been through so much together, experiencing immense success, as well as various member scandals, it just seemed unthinkable that their phenomenal 2015 MAMA performance would be their last. In that memorable performance, the female quartet showcased what they had always been doing best: simply being their beautiful, unique selves in a powerful and confident manner.


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It was this quality that first drew me to 2NE1, all the way back in 2011. I had heard of the group previously, but it wasn’t until they released the songs “Lonely” and “Ugly” that I truly became a fan. I had never heard a Korean girl group sing so honestly about such negative emotions (especially since they are pretty much taboo topics in the K-pop industry), but for some reason, I felt emotionally connected to the group even though we were worlds apart. They seemed to understand and share my insecurities and fears, even if they were different than me. They were brave enough to take it and put it into their music, loudly proclaiming it all over the world. To a teenage girl who always felt lonely but kept trying to maintain her facade of a social life, these songs were truly empowering, since it felt like 2NE1 was telling their listeners that it was alright and even natural to feel lonely; it was nothing to be shameful about.

Perhaps the fact that these songs came from a Korean girl group, of all countries, made it even more significant and inspiring. Korea has always been well-known for its emphasis on external beauty, as evidenced by its booming plastic surgery and cosmetics industries. Even young ordinary students apply makeup with finesse everyday when they go to school. The pressure to live up to society’s standards of beauty is thus exceptionally high in Korea, which is why it’s even more important to recognise that we’re all beautiful in our own ways, even if we might be seen as “ugly” to the rest of the world – a message that 2NE1 definitely conveyed through their entire career. From the carefree revealing of their bare faces early on in their careers to the unique styling that constantly set them apart from regular pretty girl groups, 2NE1 showed that they could be confident and beautiful even if they differed from the norm.


Alson on Kultscene: BlackPink vs. 2NE1: The Ultimate Analysis 

2NE1 took this message a step further with their other iconic hit “I Am The Best.” Though it was also released in 2011 they kept performing it year after year, and it eventually became the last song they would ever perform together. This song was representative of their entire career, since they effectively showed the world that they weren’t just the best at what they were doing, but they knew and believed it too. That confidence really struck and empowered me, especially during the times where my self-esteem hit all time lows. I was constantly defeated by the problems life threw at me, but even more so because I kept comparing myself to the more beautiful, more talented people around me. I was never satisfied with myself and I ended up reaching a stage where I simply became another person whenever I stepped out of the comfort of my home. I was quieter, more introverted, never able to be myself because I was just too afraid and concerned with how the people around me would criticise or judge me. While I wouldn’t go so far to say that 2NE1 was the main reason why I ended up getting out of that slump, they certainly propelled me in the right direction (“I Am The Best” was literally my daily anthem for a period of time) and it’s still my go-to song whenever I feel like giving myself a pep talk.

I could go on forever about how 2NE1 has impacted my life in both small and big ways, and there are probably also many other fans out there who have had similar experiences. However, it all boils down to this: 2NE1 will really be missed. There’ll always be a void in this fangirl’s heart that will never again be filled because I’ll always be longing for this irreplaceable girl group to come back with the same inspiring power and force that they’ve shown together all these years. Despite the unhappiness and the unfortunate way the group came to an end, from the bottom of my heart, I’m thankful that I got to stan such an unique and talented group; that I got to mature and grow up along with them; that I got to learn so much from them. Although the members will go their separate ways from now on, 2NE1’s legacy will never be forgotten, even 10, 20 years from now. Or at least, I will never forget them, and I’m sure many Blackjacks out there feel the same way.

Until the faraway day when we meet again, goodbye, 2NE1.

What do you think of 2NE1’s disbandment? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

From ‘Nation’s Producers’ to Actual Producers: The Many Futures of I.O.I’s 11 Members

From humble trainees on Produce 101 to chart-topping idols in their music video for “Very Very Very,” the eleven members of I.O.I saw their lives massively changed in the course of only one year. While the group has given strong performances, memorable variety appearances, and infectious songs, it is no secret that fans of the group are apprehensive about I.O.I’s scheduled January 31st disbandment. A few months ago, we analyzed I.O.I’s unique formation regarding how members are simultaneously part of two labels and, for some of them, two groups, something largely unheard of previously in the world of K-Pop.

But with the new year ahead, infinite possibilities remain for the eleven members of I.O.I, all of whom now have public recognition and newfound popularity to take with them to future activities and musical ventures. And although we have an idea of where many of the members are going post-disbandment, it’s worth discussing how these paths may benefit or hurt them. Let’s look at each member or groups of members, and make some predictions about their largely divided futures.

So what’s next for I.O.I’s 11 members?

Im Nayoung & Zhou Jieqiong (Pinky)

As Pledis Entertainment artists, the futures of these these two I.O.I members are largely intertwined. Alongside I.O.I, Nayoung and Pinky were more quietly part of Pledis Girlz, a pre-debut group headed by their company, alongside eight other trainees, many of whom also competed in Produce 101 early last year. And while groups like Gugudan and DIA were shrouded in controversy for continuing with I.O.I members, Pledis Girlz has only recently become official under the name PRISTIN. The group is yet to debut, and yet to regularly promote on television. As a result, PRISTIN has maintained the respect of the public and I.O.I fans, especially when Nayoung and Pinky partook in I.O.I’s promotions for “Whatta Man (Good Man)” even as other members were pulled out for individual promotions.


The new group has found public exposure from Produce 101 and various pre-debut performances and promotions. As a result, PRISTIN’s growing fanbase both within Korea and around the world line them up to be one of 2017’s more successful girl group debuts, especially since Nayoung and Pinky are the leader of I.O.I and one of its notable visual/vocalists, respectively. Not to mention, some other popular competitors from Produce 101 , including Eunwoo, Yebin, and Siyeon, are in the group alongside them. With a debut slated for soon after I.O.I’s disbandment, Nayoung and Pinky have a collective future that is certain and in sight. Within this framework, it seems that, among I.O.I’s eleven members, Nayoung and Pinky are most likely to succeed within another group following the official split later this month.

Kang Mina & Kim Sejeong

Two of the most talked-about members of I.O.I, Sejeong and Mina have a clear path laid out for them after January 31st. Last summer, their company Jellyfish Entertainment had them debut in the nine-member Gugudan, which coincided with the release of I.O.I’s “Whatta Man.”. And while the group did receive attention due to the Mina and Sejeong, alongside another popular Produce 101 trainee Kim Nayoung, the group failed to captivate the public’s attention due to what was largely seen as an awkward concept backed by lackluster music. As a possible rising girl group in 2017, the group does have potential to succeed, but it is also possible that they fade into irrelevance if the next release isn’t more appealing, especially given that they are one of many new large girl groups with innocent, feminine concepts. Sejeong and Mina will have to work especially hard to bring Gugudan some credibility in the oversaturated girl group market if they want continued musical relevance in a group structure.


That being said, their options aren’t as limited as those of their group members. While she will become a full-time Gugudan member once February begins, Sejeong particularly maintains widespread popularity, as one of I.O.I’s main vocals, the runner-up on Produce 101, and a regular cast member on variety shows. Her debut solo single, “Flower Way,” was also a success, demonstrating that her individual popularity will not be quickly forgotten even if she is part of a girl group that isn’t as successful. Sejeong can and will be a strong force in 2017, but it remains to be seen how Mina or Gugudan as a whole will fare later on this year.

Jung Chaeyeon

Chaeyeon remains in a similar situation as that of Sejeong and Mina. Under MBK Entertainment, she is also part of a struggling girl group. While DIA has made some strides in finding public popularity this year with Chaeyeon and fellow member and Produce 101 competitor Huihyun (Cathy), the group’s current state is not very competitive in relation to the larger girl group market. Unless DIA can move their image away from their controversial CEO and agency, and bring out some title tracks with wide appeal, it’s likely that the group will have but another hard year in 2017.


But like Sejeong, Chaeyeon maintains considerable popularity. One of the most active I.O.I members, she maintained positions in both groups while also acting in a drama, making variety appearances, and doing pictorials throughout 2016. While she may not have an incredibly successful group to come back to, Chaeyeon will likely remain relevant in 2017 through her various activities as a singer and actress.

Yoo Yeonjung

While also already a member of another group, Yeonjung may possibly find herself in a slightly different situation than that of her groupmates Sejeong, Mina, and Chaeyeon. A Starship Entertainment artist, Yeonjung is the thirteenth member of Cosmic Girls (WJSN), which debuted early last year but added Yeonjung during I.O.I’s subunit promotion cycle. WJSN has definitely yet to strike it big, but they arguably show more rising potential than do DIA and Gugudan.


As the group’s main vocal, Yeonjung has brought them forward considerably, but unlike her I.O.I groupmates, she is not the most popular member of WJSN. After seeing a huge surge in popularity last year, member Cheng Xiao currently carries the group in popularity. WJSN will likely move further and further into the public eye as time goes on. While their current track “I Wish” isn’t faring incredibly well on the charts, it’s doing much better than past tracks “Mo Mo Mo” and equally as well as “Secret,” demonstrating that this promotion cycle may be the precursor to a much more successful one in the coming months. For both Yeonjung and her group, there is definitely hope, and with her shining vocals, the chance for solo promotions definitely exist in the near or distant future.

Kim Chungha

Considering that Chungha is under no-name label M&H Entertainment, fans have worried about her future after I.O.I’s disbandment. But as I wrote in KultScene’s Artists to Watch 2017 list published earlier this month, Chungha shows a lot of potential for success. One of the higher ranking trainees on Produce 101, Chungha’s variety of talents made her an instant stand-out both before and during I.O.I’s promotions. And given that her company has announced that she will debut solo in 2017, what’s to say that she can’t continue to stand out in the future? With a good song and concept, Chungha will have no trouble utilizing her incredibly strong dance, remarkably stable vocals, charismatic image, and English-speaking skills in future performances. Chungha is undoubtedly one of the most versatile members to come out of I.O.I, and her trendy and international appeal makes incredibly hopeful about her future. All it will take is a company that really works for her, and I’m praying that M&H is exactly that this year.

Kim Sohye

Sohye’s future is largely undetermined, except for the vague answer of “acting.” Currently under her own management, she plans to spend her time training and debuting as an actress this year post-I.O.I. It is still not clear, however, whether she will remain under her one-woman S&P Entertainment or if she is still related in anyway to her previous agency, Redline Entertainment. And while she constantly receives hate for her untrained musical abilities, Sohye has found herself a cult following during her time under Produce 101 and as a member of I.O.I. Although she isn’t the strongest singer or dancer, it is possible that she is an incredibly talented actress, and while netizens and international viewers were quick to call her useless or untalented, her real charms may have yet to be seen. As a result, I hold out hope for Sohye as well — after all, she may not hit it big on music shows, but she may be instead destined for drama primetime slots sometime soon.

Jeon Somi

Somi’s situation is very curious. Unlike that of her groupmates, we know very little about her future, except that she has now been bumped up from trainee to artist under JYP Entertainment. Currently a huge trend in Korea and closely associated with labelmates TWICE, many predict that JYP will add Somi to TWICE as its 10th member, giving the already explosively successful group another huge asset. And while there is a chance that this happens, I think (and hope) that JYP is smart enough to go in a different direction with Somi.

At only fifteen years old, the I.O.I center doesn’t need to debut in a girl group immediately. She can continue with variety appearances, pictorials, and possibly solo music releases or acting stints before she debuts in JYP’s next girl group, which will probably debut in at least a year or two from now. As one of I.O.I’s most popular members and one of the bigger trends of girl group K-Pop in 2016, Somi holds the power to bring any future JYP girl group to immediate public spotlight. So while I don’t think Jeon Somi will disappear this year, I don’t think we’ll be seeing her “Like OOH AHH” anytime soon.

Kim Doyeon & Choi Yoojung

While there are few details, Doyeon and Yoojung are clearly destined to be members of Fantagio’s next girl group. The girls’ agency, however, has yet to make any major announcements about this girl group — we do not know the group’s name, how many members it will have, when it will debut, etc. But we do know that Doyeon and Yoojung have also been promoted to artists under the label, and their young age (both are only 17 years old) gives them some time before having to debut. It is likely that the group will debut probably earlier than later in 2017, and it’s even more likely that these two will bring a lot of attention to their debut.

Yoojung specifically has found immense popularity as a strong stage and variety personality, while Doyeon is also a trend for her visuals and versatile talents. As a result, there is nothing stopping these girls from being incredibly successful, making their future group’s success a strong possibility as well. Not to mention, the group may possibly have sisters Lee Chaeyeon and Chaeryoung of JYP Entertainment’s survival show SIXTEEN, as the rumor mill says that they have transferred to Fantagio to debut alongside Yoojung and Doyeon. Having four members with previous public exposure, the members of this group have little to worry about right now. We will likely see lots of Doyeon and Yoojung in 2017, working hard to ensure their new group’s success.

While the “Cherry Blossoms” will eventually “Fade” at the end of this month, it’s clear that the members have a lot going for them. Dividing now into what may possibly be six different girl groups (counting already debuted groups along with Pledis Girlz, Fantagio’s upcoming girl group, and JYP’s next girl group a couple years away) and an actress, the eleven members are truly embodying the group’s name “Ideal of Idol.” While the futures of each group vary in likelihood of sustained relevance, it is clear that each individual member of I.O.I doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. As fans, we are definitely downcast about the disbandment of such an amazing girl group, but we can find solace in the fact that our “Dream Girls” will remain active in the industry in coming years. And whether apart or together, I.O.I’s legacy will live on.

Who do you think will be Kpop’s rising star this year? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

KultScene’s 2017 Artists to Watch

Chungha Sam Kim KARD Jung Seung Hwan

New year, new Kpop. As 2017 begins, we are watching closely for artists both new and old to stand out with better music and performances. And especially following the 2016 Kpocalypse, nothing is entirely predictable. Anything can make your fave popular — a funny variety appearance, a trendy CF, or a “Sha Sha Sha.” So we ask: Who will be the trend in 2017? KultScene’s writers Anna and Kushal break it down across Male, Female, and Coed lines to give you our prediction of 2017’s rising stars.

MALE Artists to Watch in 2017: Jung Seung Hwan, Sam Kim (Antenna Music)

Of K-pop Star fame, these two singers made their much anticipated debuts in 2016 and while their styles of music are different, they both have equal potential to make it big in 2017. Beginning with Sam Kim’s pre-release single in March with “Mama Don’t Worry,” he then made an official debut in April with his full-length EP I Am Sam.

Each of his songs are so musically inspired and creative that they bring a new life and freshness into the K-pop industry and “No Sense” illustrates that completely. The fact that he’s only going to be 19 this year just means that he still has a lot more room to grow as a musician in the future. Most recently, he also released an amazing OST (“Who Are You”) for popular airing drama Goblin and has been gaining a lot of recognition for the soulful track.

Jung Seung Hwan on the other hand, only made his debut recently in December with his album Voice. He achieved an “all-kill” on Korean music charts with the release of his album, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise for the singer since he had previously topped charts with the covers he sang during his stint on K-pop Star. His naturally emotional voice makes him the perfect choice to sing sorrowful ballads and OSTs, as proven by the successful sound tracks he has been releasing, even before his official debut. In particular, his OST for Oh Haeyoung Again hit the right notes with the Korean public and has achieved a long-staying popularity even with the many other releases of 2016. (I heard the song playing in shops at least 5 times when I was visiting Korea in December.)

Ballads aren’t new in K-pop, but the way these two artists reinvent the genre in their own ways keeps their music interesting and strengthens their individual identities as musicians. Here’s hoping that they’ll discover their well-deserved success in 2017!

FEMALE Artist to Watch in 2017: Kim Chungha (M&H Entertainment)

Originally one of Produce 101’s underdogs, Kim Chungha quickly rose to fame last year as a member of the trendy, nation-produced I.O.I. Among many younger, cuter members, Chungha’s sexier, more charismatic image immediately stood out to I.O.I fans looking for a member with an edgier side. While she rose to fame as a dancer and choreographer, she is by no means a weak vocalist. Chungha has impressed fans left and right with her dancing skills, from improvising “Partition” during her first Produce 101 audition in January to performing on Mnet’s dance show Hit the Stage months ago. The crowning achievement of her tenure as an I.O.I member, however, is the choreography to the group subunit’s song “Whatta Man (Good Man),” which she herself crafted during the summer.

Without a strong company behind her, Chungha’s rise to relevance was largely unprecedented, but definitely welcomed by fans throughout the K-Pop world. While she has enjoyed success as an I.O.I member, many were worried about her future after the group’s upcoming disbandment at the end of January. It was announced at the end of 2016, however, that Chungha would debut as a solo artist under her label M&H Entertainment in the first half of 2017. The decision to give her a solo debut was probably one of the smartest things her label could do, given that 2017 is already going to be flooded with newly successful girl groups and newly debuted girl groups that have yet to find success. The oversaturated nature of the market makes her solo debut something the Korean public and international fan community will quickly embrace — no new members to learn, no new group name to start stanning. In a world of cutesy and energetic girl groups, Chungha’s charisma will likely stand out, giving her another edge in the intensely competitive market of female K-Pop artists. Chungha is definitely multi talented, and her ability to handle multiple skills and concepts puts her immensely ahead in K-Pop game this year.

COED Artist to Watch in 2017: K.A.R.D (DSP Media)

While they haven’t officially debuted, the four members of K.A.R.D have already made huge waves in the K-Pop universe with their pre-debut track “Oh NaNa,” which was released early last month. Voted by KultScene’s contributors as the 5th Best Song of 2016, the track has yet to chart in Korea, but has remained near the top of worldwide K-Pop charts for almost a month. Their music video has also accumulated over 4 million views, and their YouTube channel has over 180,000 subscribers (keep in mind that they have already overtaken their label DSP Media in subscriptions, which is the channel with every single KARA music video ever…).

With the kind of international attention the group is receiving, it isn’t long before they get similar love in Korea. The inclusion of masculine male rappers and infectious female vocals creates the ultimate mix of boy group and girl group fans alike. Instead of competing for the top spot among boy groups or girl groups, they amalgamate what makes each type of group work in a co-ed unit that stands out. While rising groups like Cosmic Girls and fellow DSP artist APRIL are trying to stand out in the girl group world this year, and new boy groups like VARSITY and Top Secret look for success on the other side, K.A.R.D has relatively no competition. They have entered a niche of K-Pop that hasn’t been touched in years, and with the kind of visuals, talents, and musical quality with which they’ve started, it’s only a matter of time before they become a force to reckon with in the K-Pop world.

Additional content courtesy of Anna Cheang. 

Who do you think will be Kpop’s rising star this year? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.